Wednesday, December 04, 2013

December? Already?

Earlier this week it came to my attention that I had not two pay checks tell Christmas, but only one paycheck and change for gifts and decorations...

First I swore and freaked out a little bit;
Then, with a sence of defeat, I acknowledged that less than I was planning would have to happen this year;
Third I took a calming deep breath, and a swig from my husbands beer;
Then I stat down to plan out what exactly needed to happen on my next paycheck.
And you know what? It'll be fine!



I had to nix a few things (Christmas cards are a definite no), but all of those things were additonal "wouldn't it be nice if I also" things, my core holiday plans are all still intact. Now, it helps that I'm a hand-made, second-hand, discount buyer who has decided to stop buying gifts for the sake of buying gifts (Do you need it? Do you Want it? Will you use it? - No? New plan - Cookies!). The extended family is all going to get thier minimal but sure to be genuenly appreshiated gifts (which we can only ship because Paul does have two paychecks between now and Christmas), Paul and Richard will get their more pricy gifts as well as a few smaller things. I'll still be able to decorate for the holiday (not the tree skirt I have invisioned in my head, but really I need to run that by an experienced quilter first anyway), and we'll still eat like kings (yay $0.49/lb turkeys the weekend after thanksgiving).

Not only relieved that Christmas isn't perticularily damaged by my lack of forsight, I actually feel kind of warm and fussy inside knowing that our Christmas is so homemade and personal that a sudden (if stupidly so, it's not like Easter - it happens 356 days after the last one) tight budget on a short time frame has almost no impact.

Except for Christmas cards, for which I am truely kind of bumbed. I know I haven't sent them in a years, but I really had intented to send them this year. Oh well, one more year for the Christmas email.

Are you ready for the holidays?
If not, keep calm - take a hit of something and sit down and figure out your plan of attack. You might just be pleasently suprised. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Follow Up

Follow up re: Habit Dilemma. The answer is of course: Yes (by which I mean both, I am a Libra after all... if I can hit all angles I will)

Since I see that there is a problem, better cut back and start putting some stratagies into place to prepare for a full on January 1st ban.

Long over due follow up re: Hallowe'en. Going with of one of his favorite video's, Richard went as a Fox for Hallowe'en. He has a habbit of prancing (not running, but prancing on his toes) singing "ring ding ding ding ding duding duding" when he's exceited and trying to get smiles out of us. Paul and Richard had a great time trick'or treating, but they went out longer than planned (ran into our neighbours and joined them around the next apartment building over) which result in Paul being too tired to take pictures and Richard being too tired to pose for them anyway (I was at work). I have Richards costume haning up in the hallway with the idea that when I have more than one day off in a row I'll get him dressed up and take photos/video... but  that hasn't happend yet, so I figured I should follow up with my prior post and at least tell you what he went as incase photos/video never come.

Follow up gardening: A lot of talk, with little action - each pay day I seem to spend my little bit of fun money before I get to the gardening center. We just had a frost this past week, so honestly it's too late in the winter season to plant anything at this point (one thing for established plants, and an entirely different animal for new ones). Oh well...

Follow up community integration. I continue with my gardening classes, but haven't made any friends there. All of the knitting groups I have found meet on days I'm busy, I'm actually thinking about starting a McMommy Knits or some such group that meets in the payroom of the McDonalds during non-peak hours so people can bring their kids... but I want to get a little more used to my schedule before I really think about taking something like that on.

We started church shopping this past weekend (aren't you Wiccan? Wicapalian actually, it's complicated but it works for me and the divine) and checked out St.Michael's and All Angle's Family Service. I like the church and the feel of the place, and we clicked well with another family there who has a son just a little younger than Richard. The service is at nine which I appreciate: go to church and have my Sunday too... but, we only sang two hymns. The music is not only the biggest part of why Paul and I go, but is also keeps Richard calm as well. So while I liked the family service, I'm not sure it's going to work for us (though I haven't ruled it out yet), we'll just have to see.

That said, I'm making friends at work and Paul's making friends with his gaming group, and we're both starting to feel more rooted here.

Had a rainny weekend here, it was lovely! Warmed my Pacific NorthWest heart (even if it did cool my joints and bones, stupid raynauds).

And that's the follow up scoop

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Habit Dilemma

I have a bad habit in my life, well for my life anyway. It's nothing illegal or directly bad for me, and more people partake in this habit than not... but the attention I am giving this habit is keeping me from living the life I want to live. It's not a habit that my husband particularity cares for or partakes in, and we agree that this is a habit we would rather raise our son (and any future children) more or less without... but yet, I partake.

For sometime now my overall feeling on the matter has been "oh, whatever" but I'm coming to a point where I'm starting to see the damage this particular habit is having on me, and on Richard. The time and dedication I'm putting into my beloved habit is taking away time and effort from living the active holistic life style I want to live, and raising my son in that life style...

I have given up this habit before, and always I'm happier for it at the time - and yet something happens and I end up back in my old ways, so when I give it up this time I want to really put some effort behind it. Make a big dedication. My question for you the greater ether is, do I give this habit up now or do I wait for January First?

...Figure out a few coping strategies and alternatives and enjoy my favorite season (Thanksgiving through New Years) for said habit, then making a big deal next year about what alternatives I've found during the holiday season as my year long ban comes to and end? - Or, do I give up this habit that so many people just see as part of every day life, today, when I see that it's a problem?

Thoughts?

P.S. When I actually give up said habit, I will confess to what the habit actually is (thought I suspect many of you can figure that out from the description) - but one thing I know I'll do as an alternative is blog more, both about the ban but also to fill my new found time due to said ban, and thus I want to make a big deal about it when the time comes.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hallowe'en? Oh So It Is...

(2012 - Hallowe'en in Atlanta)

Funny how things change. I used to be the queen of Hallowe'en.... then my parties got kind of boring and predictable... and then we moved and didn't know anyone.. and then I was injured and unable to answer the door while Paul was off at D&D... three years ago I got into the spirit of things and decorated the house and had a movie party with my best friend Hillary (in-between  a tone trick'r treaters)... but then we moved again and Richard was only 10 months old... This year, we have moved yet again, and although we know people and have an invitation to a Hallowe'en party, I'm working that night and Paul doesn't really care to find a sitter. As to decorations, I find myself unenthusiastic about decorating our crappy little apartment, and also feel there are other things I should be spending that money on. All of that said, we're not completely ignoring the Holiday...

Paul bought me a pumpkin over a week ago, and last Monday night we went to my friend Liz's for a pumpkin carving party (I consider this to be my Hallowe'en celebration for the year) complete with stew, pumpkin beer, and candied apples. I had Richard all set to be a tiger, and then in the span of two weeks he out grew his costume... (good thing I checked last night, eh?). So, instead of taking Richard to Hallowe'en Story Time at the Library we went back to Savers (aka Value Village) and got his second costume (as well as hitting the Pediatricians office to verify that his cough was a new virus, piggy back x 3, and not the last virus turned infection - poor kid). Tomorrow Richard will go to daycare in costume, and then Paul will take him Trick'r Treating (just through our apartment building - he's not yet two, and he's sick). He can't say trick'r treat yet, but I'm betting "p(l)eas" will get him plenty of candy.

I'm hoping that once we have a house and get settled I'll find my new Queen of Hallowe'en-ness. She won't be the same as she used to be, but I should be throwing kid friendly pumpkin carving parties and post tricker'r treat hangout party with punch for the parents etc... I just feel that I need my own space to do that, even though I actually don't.... I think that's why I started to reconnect to Hallowe'en just that one year in Phoenix, because the place had started to really feel like home.

Now for the really odd bit - although the Queen of Hallowe'en isn't talking to me, I already have Christmas decorations planned out, and twice this week found I was randomly humming Christmas carols to myself... I blame Nightmare Before Christmas.

Happy Hallowe'en!

P.S. No, I didn't mention what Richard's new costume was, photos and hopefully video soon to follow.
P.P.S. No actually I don't celebrate Samhain on October the 31st. Samhain is a cross-quarter Pagan Holiday, which is to say that it falls directly in-between an Equinox and a Solstice; as I celebrate those Sabbats on their correct day so too do I celebrate the cross-quarter Sabbats, making Samhain 2013 November 6th (2013 Solstice & Equinox Chart). When it comes to Samhain, this is a great way to practice because it means I get to have my candy and eat it too (as it were).

----
Follow up post: No daycare - kiddo is too sick (still going to have Paul take him Trick'r Treating though)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remember those unhappy tomato plants I mentioned? Well I had just aggressively pruned them when I made that post, and look what I have found since...

Three tomato plants, all with flowers. I may get a Autumn harvest (one of the up sides to living in Arizona) after all! 
And of course, happy pepper is happy (please excuse the bird poop - I have a bird feeder right above the pepper to keep the grasshoppers at bay).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Yeah I know - this is the second time I have un-retired my blog.

This is me, and currently I'm kind of boring, so my blog is too - but this is my blog and attempts to write anywhere else just don't work - and I feel like I need to be blogging.

I just said goodbye (all be it very passive-aggressive-cowardly) to something very dear, and very destructive on all side. I am returning focus to my values and life goals, and focusing on my current life, place, and family - literately shaking and crying  from that painful, but oh so necessary experience, I'm reaching for a cup pot of tea, which brings me here.

Currently, between cups I'm...
- Taking care of my toddler, and trying (though not always succeeding) to do that with less and less TV - if you have suggestions for toddler games I'd love to hear them;
- Having occasional date nights with husband Paul, usually involving a movie;
- Gardening, I have three unhappy tomato plants, one ma'ma and two baby all unhappy strawberry plants; one contented Rosemary, and one thrilled and thriving pepper plant - I have two free gardening classes come up, provided through the Tucson Food Bank (isn't it cool they do that? I think it's awesome);
- Working three nights a week as a Hospital Clerk, which I'm really enjoying. I thought I wanted to be a house wife, but the truth is I want to be a part time house wife. I want to be able to spend MOST of the day taking care of my home and family, and just a few days a week forgetting that they exists. Having returned to work part time, more house work is getting done, play time with Richard is more interactive, and Paul's getting more wifely attention. I need to leave my family for a bit, to love my family deeply... who knew? (Good thing too since we quite honestly need more money)
- Attempting to Crock Pot more, in the name of my new work schedule - and am looking to take some cooking classes (though I need a few more paychecks under my belt before I really work on that one).
- Prematurely house hunting (soon, very soon...but we're not quite ready for that - I have to daydream about something though, and this is a positive daydream to work worth);
- Writing notes on daily Wiccan/Pagan prayer, with the idea of one day writing a book;
- Thinking about church shopping (yeah, Wiccaplian weirdo, I know), but every time I get ready to go either I get sick, Richard gets sick, we are already scheduled to go camping, or I have to work Saturday night... so apparently I'm not supposed to go at this time;
- Working on updating my wardrobe, currently in concept only, but soon I will be attacking the mending pile and hitting up the second hand stores;
- Working out to Pilates and Yoga videos, occasionally swimming, and only taking the stairs at work (I work more than one floor) - and am happy to report that I now weigh the same as I did before Richard was conceived (I'm not the same physical shape... but it's a nice place to be none the less).
- Not crafting, which is really weird and yes you should be a little worried; I am starting to come up with crafting ideas though so that's promising.

I'm unhappy with my local tea selection - have placed a special request with Fry's for some Red Rose, and will soon put in a request from some Vancouver friends for some Murchie's (I'll pay for the tea, I just don't want to pay their $10 in shipping because tea bags are light, and it doesn't actually cost that much to ship them down here).

So, if you're still checking my blog out for updates - welcome back.

P. S. Current cup of tea: Alvita's Red Raspberry Leaf ; pot of tea consumed just prior to: Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast (which was okay, but crap compared to Murchies).
Song of the Day: Flogging Molly's Float

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Time to Admit Defeat

It's been almost a year since I blogged last... 
time to admit that I have too much going on in my life to keep up with a random blog. 
This doesn't mean I'm done with blogging, but I think I am done with this blog.
So, to wrap things up...

 

We have moved to Tucson where Paul is working at the Porsche dealership;
I'm currently on the Medical Administration Job Market, and I suspect that I have found a job as a Unit Clerk.
We are looking to buy a house in the winter (which is probably when I'll start a new blog);
And talking about trying for another baby after that.

Thank you for letting me share my life with you. 
Love you and your family
- Katharyn

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A diaper, is not a diaper, is not a diaper: Fabric

We use a couple different fabric diaper systems, no logic behind that, just cold reality. 
Wasn't sure what type of system would best suit us, was trying to make my own diapers, was given some both hand made and store bought... 


If money wasn't an obstetrical, I would use only Kushie All-In-Ones
But, my life being what it is, I have just two Med size Kushie All-In-Ones, which Richard will so outgrow. 

My mother refers to my son as the "the butt-less baby", all of the all-in-ones I tried with snaps didn't fit him right, so we would end up with leaks or the diaper just falling off completely. The Kushie diapers are fairly light, fit, didn't fall off, we've had no leak issues, and they're cute. 

The diapers I made are okay, flannel covers designed for a tri-fold insert for absorption; but my attempts to make a diaper cover haven't turned out so well. While I struggled with that my mother bought us some g diapers

Primarily we use g diapers, we're making the system work for us but it's not ideal.
The love the concept of the g diapers! A fabric (hemp) cover, with a PUL pocket, which you stuff with either a hemp re-usable liner, or a disposable liner (which uses less of the disposable material than that of a traditional disposable diaper). I think it's a great system... but
I find the hemp liner when faced with the force of male urination slides down in the pocket, so not all of the urine is hitting the fabric and then we end up with leaks. If the liner was larger I think it would work better (honestly, I need to look up the measurements because even though I bought the M/L size, part of me wonders if I got a miss labeled box of small liners which would explain the problem).
Back to the butt-less baby issue, because of how tight I have to make the diaper to not slide off of Richard, the soft fabric elastic rubs his thighs (but I don't think that would be an issue for a baby with a proper rump).

So how so I make it work? 
The g diaper liners fit in my flannel covers, and the tri-folds fit in the g diaper pockets (with an extra fold in the front for both of size and absorbancy). Furthermore, my diapers fit (more or less) in the g diaper covers, and the flaps of the diapers cover Richards thighs protecting him from the rubbing. 
So I alternate between one of my diapers in his g diaper cover, and just a tri fold in his g diapers. 

I'd rather use Kushies, but... but between my home made diapers and g diaper covers we have a system that works.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Most of the time living: Fabric Diapers

I personally believe in using fabric diapers instead of disposable.
I think the energy and water needed for the laundry load is better than filling up the landfills; 
I believe it shows my son my values regarding the environment and waste, from the get go; 
and I can sell my husband on it from a financial standpoint (though admittedly this was a hard sale in the beginning). 

That said, always a believer in balance in the name of sanity, we have some disposable diapers in the house, and we use them. 
We use fabric diapers at home, during the day and disposable diapers for outings and at night. 
I admire the mothers who use fabric diapers 24/7, I really do, but for my family that just doesn't work. 

Richard doesn't mind being in a dirty diaper, but he HATES having his diaper changed. 
In the middle of the night leaving him in the same diaper is the difference between rocking him back to sleep in three minutes, and being up for an hour. 

In addition to crying and trying to roll over while having his diaper changed, and then screaming when forced to continue with the process, Richard is terrified of public changing tables; full screaming melt down before I have so much as touched his pants let alone his diaper. So I change his diaper on the floor or in the car, a quieter (if far from silent) but significantly more complicated task...  I don't let Richard just sit in a dirty diaper; if it smells it has it go, if it's soaked it has to go - but if it's a little wet and we're already about to head home it can wait, and the difference between a little wet in a fabric diaper and a little wet in a disposable diaper is huge!

So most of the time we use fabric diapers, but the rest of the time we don't sweat it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Computer Plauge

Will post when one of our three computers is working consistently, 
sorry about the delay

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hubby Friday XXIX


be sure to check out KatyLin's blog The Great Adventure for more information on My Husband Rocks Fridays.

My husband rocks for his random acts of kindness.

We have no money, seriously I don't know that we've ever been this broke before.
But, when stuck behind someone who chose the wrong lane at the North Atlanta toll bridge ("exact change" when there are "cashier" and "credit" lanes available) Paul didn't get angry as we watched the family start searching under their seats for money; he didn't back the car up so we could use another lane; he didn't wait for an attendant to come out to fix the situation: he looked to see how much they were missing, grabbed it out of our toil bridge funds ash tray, and paid the rest of their fare.

Then he blushed and laughed as I declared my love for him.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Most Of The Time Living: Produce

We strive to live our lives to certain goals and values, but you have to start slow and draw the line somewhere. Our mental state is worth a lot, and sometimes you just have to compromise so you can keep up with some goals, other wise your burn out and give up on everything. Sometimes, when you compromise or give up on one goal, it can feel like a failure when it's really not. We really can't do it all, and you should be proud and what you do achieve.

Back in Phoenix I had a friend Terri, who I quite admired for her life style, particularly her eating habits (read Organic). One day, my family will eat Organic food (and hopefully I'll be the one growing most of it) but currently, it's just not in the budget (nor gardening given the continues moving). I was posting on facebook how much produce we had scored on a Wednesday Pros Ranch Market Sale, and while one friend told me about an organic produce deal I could look into, Terri responded with "Yeah, but you just can't beat Ranch Market prices!". To have someone who lives the life style I strive for, to a much closer degree than myself, relate to my compromises was heart warming.

We make our own goals, and compromises, live our own lives. People frequently judge themselves on what they think others will think of them. We don't have the right to judge other people, and we really shouldn't be judging ourselves either. Live your life the best you can, and allow others to do the same.

And so with that, I introduce (yet another) series "Most Of The Time Living", in which I will share with you my compromises and short comings of my ideals (ideals that I hold to no one else but myself).

I really do want my family to eat mostly organic food some day... but when faced with the option to get just a few bits of produce, or a lot of non-organic produce, I've gone for quantity and variety. In Phoenix that meant Pro's Ranch Market, here in Atlanta we found a real (buy things by the half bushel) farmers market (local food is also on my list of ideals so woot for that). Sometimes we are able to get a little organic stuff, but most of the time we just get a variety of non-organic produce. Richard gets a taste for different things, we get more than the minimum recommended fruits and vegetables per day, and life is good (even though it's not organic).


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Living the dream

I know, another unplanned hiatus?!?!
I went back to work, was giving my family all of my free time and just couldn't keep up with the blogging. 
But... things have changed, quite a bit in fact.
 He got in! 
Yes, that's right (and for those of you new to the blog) Paul got into the Porsche program. So we packed 75% (should have packed more) of the stuff we owned into a storage unit, and moved to Atlanta Georgia. We'll be here for six months, and then off again to "Location X" (Paul's job placement has yet to be set in stone).
Paul's in school for the first half of his day, and then off to work for the second half of his day (poor man).
I was not able to transfer or work from home as we were hoping would happen, so instead I get to temporarily live the dream as a house apartment wife. Of course, in the dream Paul and I have some money... and currently we have NONE, which isn't going to change before we get to location X. 
Beyond that, some things that were supposed to come to Atlanta, ended up accidentally in the storage unit... this includes my knitting needles (except for a pair of size eights I was traveling with) and all of Richard's "too big just yet" clothing. But this is good, it just means we have to be extra creative... right?
Anyone need a work from home flexible hours data entry employee? I type 100/WPM.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Winner of the Earth Day Craft Challange 2012

Since we only had one submission this year, voting isn't needed. 
Personally I'm just happy that it's a different person from last years signal submission, this gives me hope that one day we'll have more than one applicant. 

I'm really impressed with the craft projects Stephanie from American Ahimsa came up with and I highly suggest checking our her site to see the full sets of photos and instructions. 

First we have her kindle case, made from an old DVD case.

 And then a bonus craft, a phone/ipod stand made from an old cassette case.


Brilliant Stephanie, just brilliant! 
Even if we had seen more submissions, I'd be surprised if you still weren't the winner!

Next week, a tutorial on how to make your own milk jug plastic bag flower pot.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Belated Earth Day 2012

Sorry... Sorry... Sorry...
Between family visits, medication catastrophes, and the stomach flu it's been a rather long two weeks.
So, not only is this post late - it's also short.

Here is my (belated) Earth Day Planter
four milk containers and a plastic bag went into the making of this planter, and I'm rather pleased with the results!



I have not quite finished the second planter (what can I say, we only go through milk containers so fast...) and will do my best to take more pictures of the creation process as I piece the prize together over the next week.

So what was your Earth Day craft? Link back to the post, or email me photos of your project and (amusing we get more than one entry) I'll re-post the photos here so we can have a vote. Winner will win the beta planter. 

Did something else to observe Earth Day? Tell us about it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day Delay

Hello, a little drama going on at home right now. 
Will give you my Earth Day post on Wednesday.
Sorry for the delay.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cleaning Tips/WNWN: Toilet Bowl Rings

This cleaning tip has a taste of waste not want not to it. 
Do you use a  pumice stone? If you do, you probably experience the same frustration I do when the stone starts to lose it's effectiveness even though there is plenty of stone left. Go, buy a new  pumice stone for your feet, and put the old one with your cleaning supplies. 


Toilet bowl ring? No bleach, no guilt, and no problems!
Either turn the water off to your toilet, or just dump a bucket full of water down the toilet so the water level is lower than the ring (I don't have the upper body strength to turn ours off, or well I do but I have other things to spend that level of energy on).
Use the  pumice stone to scrub away the ring. 


No, you're not going to damage your toilet with the stone. Pluming porcelain is harder than  pumice, which is harder than lime and calcium. So the pumice breaks off the deposits in the ring, without so much as scratching the porcelain of the toilet. 


Ta-da!  

I actually learned this trick back when the rings on our Phoenix (read HARD water) toilets had rings so bad I thought we would have to buy new ones; so don't let the mild toilet ring in these photos fool you, it's a powerful tool!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WNWN: Bananas

Waste Not Want Not: Bananas
Didn't get to your bananas before they turned brown? Want to use them for banana bread for banana cookies, but don't have time to bake right now? - No problem! 


 Just pop those suckers into the freezer, and use at your leisure. 
  Also, for those of you who have issues with dairy - frozen mashed banana makes a great ice cream substitute!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Ship of Fools Visit to St. Mary's - Good Friday


A fair review I think, but I have a few factual notes, along with a few questions and comments.

 Fact:
Not that it matters, but actually Father Craig knocked three times on a piece of wood with a hammer (same difference I know - must just for the record). 
I personally sit on the right side in the choir and thus am the single farthest person from the pulpit, and I had no problem hearing Father Craig's sermon.

Questions:
 Despite being a PK (Priest's Kid) I am no expert on how all Anglican Service is supposed to go, I know my way around a regular Sunday Service pretty well but the once a year services I'm only so-so with.
- What about candles in the procession was out of place?
- In churches where their organist wears robes, do they usually match with the liturgical season? I have only been to a few churches were any of the musicians wore robes, but of those I have only seen red or blue; what were you expecting, black?

Comments:
That you raise your eyebrows ay tennis shoes under a cassock, particularly during a week day service - I have to say "get a life!" because the woman in that cassock has one. St. Mary's is what I like to call "Smells, Bells, and Jeans": high church service without pressure to present yourself as if you live a high formal life (and they say as much on their website). St. Mary's stresses a need to be yourself when you come to church, so if you're true self wears brightly coloured tennies, then that's what they want to see you in. I think that point is incredibly important; if you don't come to church as you are, and make a point to commune to God as you are, what does that do to your relationship with God? 
In Churches there are typical services, and non-typical services: Holy Week is composed of non-typical services and I think you have to take visits to a foreign church during such times with a grain of salt. That said, I'm very sorry that you weren't properly greeted! It's funny that such details tend to get overlooked when the service is A-typical because everyone is too busy trying to make that service "special", but there is never a time when such a critical detail as welcoming new comers should be put on the back burner.  

Thank you for your visit, and I do hope that you come again (and this time are greeted properly)!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

WNWN: Vegetable Scraps

Wast Not Want Not: Vegetable Scraps

Composting is great, and once Paul and I settle in "Location X" I'm looking forward to adding a family of worms to our house hold, but in the mean time composting just hasn't worked for us. What can you do with those vegetable scraps beside throw them away? 


Well, let me ask you this: ever make soup from scratch and skimped on the vegetables in the stock because it would decrease the amount of vegetables you had in the soup? Freeze you vegetable scraps and you'll never make a week stock again!


Tomatoes stems,  carrot peels top and tails; onion ends (complete with skin), broccoli steams, garlic root balls... use it all in your next stock! 

I used to have separate bags for each item, but now the only thing I keep separate are the broccoli steams because I also use those in broccoli cedar soup. Everything else is going to end up in the same pot, so I might as well keep it all in the same bag in the freezer.

Save, and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waste Not - Want Not: Butter Rapper

Welcome to my New Series: Waste Not Want Not

I would like to thank my friend Michele over at the Sugar Bowl House for this particular tip, I've been using it for years.

Don't throw away your butter rapper!
Fold it up, put it in a ziplock and store it in the fridge.
Then use your rapper, and more specifically it's remnant butter to grease your pans the next time your baking. 
No paper towels; no washing butter off your hands for half a day; no extra packaging and chemicals from a special "grease" product; and you're getting all you can out of your stick of butter. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

in love

cross

Absolutes that give clarity

Okay, so I'm way behind in my reading... which means I don't have a lot to blog about Bible wise (and it's hard to blog when I'm playing catch up, because I could blog or I could read another passage).
The house hold has had the plague (cold/flu), and having a 2 and a half month old adds new depths to the misery of a family illness; I haven't given up though, I'm just a little behind. I'm also not being stupid, and trying to catch up in cram sessions, instead I'm trying to add one extra chapter from each book along with one extra psalm each sitting. 

That said, over the last few weeks as I realize my years away from singing has rusted my musical knowledge, ear, and bravery far more than I expected I have found some clarity to my "should I live as an Anglican when my beliefs are more Wiccan" debate. 

I want my son to grow up in the choir loft. 

That desire is absolute, and of startling importance to me. It comes with astounding clarity and suddenly issues I debated to death like "should we baptize Richard" have solid answers without hesitation... (yes being the answer to that one). Suddenly I have no hesitations about being a practicing Anglican again, no thoughts over hypocrisy at my religious practices vs. spiritual beliefs while I question the doctrine. 

I want my son to grow up in an Anglican choir loft, until he's old enough to decide if he does or does not want to be there; and suddenly I'm quite simply and contently a practicing Anglican (again).

Though I'm still (and probably always will be) an Angwiccan.

... may have to see if the music director wants to conduct vocal/piano lessons... not that I have the money for that right now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Earth Day Craft Challenge: 2012

(Sorry I skipped last weeks post, we've all had the flu)

Calling all environmentally aware crafters... 
I challenge you to the second annual Earth Day Craft Challenge!



The concept is quite simple, between now and Earth Day use your crafting skills to create something that meets at least one if not all of the three R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). 
On Earth Day, Sunday April 22nd  blog about your project, comment on my Earth Day post and link back to your site; or email me photos of your project if you don't have a site of your own. 
On Wednesday, April the 25th I'll post photos (and links) of all the competing projects and ask for your votes. 
Winner will be announced on Sunday, April the 29th. 
Winner will receive a surprise gift (my Earth Day Project).

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Better Cooking: (Lactation) Banana Cookies

Welcome to my series "Better Cooking" 
Finding the balance between Taste and Health
 
This is one of those times when I started with someone else recipe, and then changed so many thing it really became my own.

 (Lactation) Banana Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 C White Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Soften Butter
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 C Whole Wheat Flour (I like to use White Whole Wheat Flour)
1 C Milled Flax Seed
4 Tbs Brewers Yeast (optional - for assistance with lactation)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp ground Clove
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
3 ripe bananas mashed
1/2 C un-sweetened Apple Sauce
2 C rolled Oats
1 C Dark Chocolate Chips
1 C chopped Nuts of choice (I usually go with Almonds myself)


     Preheat oven to 375F
     Cream together Sugars and Butter, add eggs and vanilla. 
     In another bowl mix together dry ingredients and then add the sugar mixture.
     Add remaining ingredients (I suggest mixing them together first for the most even distribution) and chill dough.
     Roll dough into balls, and place flattened balls on a greased cookie sheet; bake for 12-14 minutes.



What's better about these cookies?
- Whole Gains (Whole Wheat Flour, Oats)
- Omega 3's (Flax Seed, Nuts)
- Low amount of butter (because of the Apple Sauce)
- Fruit (Apple Sauce, Bananas)
- Heart Health (Dark Chocolate)

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

For the love of God (literally) it's okay to correct me

For the most part my dad is going out of his way not to be "Father John" all over my spiritual/religious Anglican exercise, probably worried that I get offended by his insight and call the whole thing off. I like to think that I'm grown up enough to take his insight for what it is, and either benefit from it or choose to ignore it... but it wouldn't be the first time I had an irrational juvenile response to his attempts at religious guidance  so I do understand the concern. I suspect other clergy folk I know may also be holding back their insight out of the same scene of concern.

I am not longer a fifteen year old using her religious exploration as means of rebellion (the exploration itself was not out of rebellion, but it filled the "teenage angst here" hole quite well). 
This is not a personal diary... It's a blog; if I'm not open to outside insight on the matter, I shouldn't be posting about it on the internet. Please feel free to comment, as long as the comments aren't out of judgment I'm happy to hear read them (if I don't like what I see then I'll just ignore you - it's not like it would be the first time I've done that either).

My father did comment on an obvious error in my last post (which has since been fixed) where I said "immaculate conception" and meant "virgin birth", and gave me a two sentence definition of immaculate conception to explain the error (Thank you Dad). For the love of God and me, if I'm flat out wrong about something please point out the error without hesitation!

The whole point of this is for me to deepen my spiritual relationship with the divine through a bit of scholarly knowledge; I can't do that if I no one calls me on my errors and it will be harder for me to deepen that relationship if no one offers their insight because they are scared of frightening me away from the search.

So please, don't hold back because there is a Rev. before you name!

P.S. Feel free to comment about grammatical errors to; I have also gotten over my dyslexia angst (at long as you don't judge the error, just point it out) and would like these post to be well written.

Blogs Blogs Everywhere

I think my Lent to Lent Bible Study Really deserves it's own place of reflection...
So I now have three blogs (ohi). 

While the Tea is Steeping: The chronicles of a working wife and mother striving to maintain a healthy, loving, earth friendly house hold, while on a budget and without giving up all of her down time or sanity.

(http://angwiccan.blogspot.com)
  
and 

Random Katharyn for everything eles
(http://randomkatharyn.blogspot.com)

Lent to Lent Bible Study

Funny how things turn out sometimes...

Back Story for those of you new to the scene: I come from an Anglican Liturgical family (my father, sister, brother-in-law, his father, my stand-in Godfather, the father of my Goddaughter... are all Anglican Priests). I love Anglican Parish life, singing in the choir and otherwise feel very at home in the Anglican Church, but I have always (as long as I can remember) felt somewhat at odds with the Christian Religion. My Spiritual beliefs fit well with the basics of Eclectic Wicca, but I have yet to find a group of Pagans with whom I feel at home. For over a decade I have been living as an "Angwiccan" or "Wiccapalian", sometimes being a parish social-light: baking communion bread, knitting prayer shawls, organizing giving tree projects etc... and sometimes practicing strictly Wicca at home.


 Now that I'm a mother, the issue of how to raise my son Spiritually has arisen, and it's an issue I feel very conflicted over. I love the Church for it's Parish Community, but not it's religion - and isn't it a bit hypocritical to practice a religion I don't believe in? Under that thought, with the exception of this past Christmas eve (as my mother was here), I haven't gone to church since we moved to Arizona two Easter's ago; that said, I haven't been a particularly good Wiccan either.

Recently I have been asking myself, "just what is that I have issues with regarding Christianity?", and although I could list a few things, the heart of the matter is I don't exactly know what my issues are (and isn't that stupid, feeling conflicted when I can't define the conflicts). Despite being from such a strong Anglican Liturgical family my Christian Theology is hazy at best; and if I am to determine if my practicing Anglicanism because I feel at home in an Anglican Parish is hypocritical (which is to say directly conflicts with my actual beliefs) then I'm going to need to deepen my understanding of Anglicanism/Christianity.  Where to start? Well the Bible, obviously. 

That said,I know the Bible isn't necessarily meant to be read cover to cover... so with the same question "where do I start" in mind I decide I should start going to St.Mary's, the parish I visited over Christmas and felt quite at home at. While looking on their website, what should I find but a reference to the 2012 Bible Reading Challenge, including a Lent to Lent daily readings list. I'm a little late to the game (as Ash Wednesday was February 22nd) however not so late that I'll have any issue catching up (I'll just read two days worth each day for a bit).

So - I accept the Lent to Lent Bible Reading Challenge; anything of particular interest that I find during my study I'll note here (as much to help with my own contemplation as with anyone else interests), and come Sunday will attempt to get to know the people at St. Mary's a little better.

Study Note: I am using the "Harper Collins Study Bible" NRSV, which per my father is thee Study Bible.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Worth Every Penny: Medela Easy Expression Bustier

Welcome to my series, "Worth Every Penny"; items that are well worth the money (not that they are necessarily expensive) because of the ease they add to your life.
- Please note, I have not been asked to review these products, they are simply items that I have come across that make a big enough difference to my life I feel they're worth sharing.


Breast feeding comes easy to some, and not so easily to others. Between tied tongues, Cesarean wounds, infections, antibiotic induced milk reduction, and postpartum depression, breast feeding just didn't work out for us; that doesn't mean I've given up on Breast Milk, it just means we have to use a middle man (aka an electric breast pump).

Expressed Breast Milk, or EBM, as the primary source of food gives the baby and mother all of the health benefits of regular breast feeding... but it takes time to express your milk which can cut into your already depleted sleep and add to your frustration! Enter the Medela Easy Expression Bustier



With this wonderful device (quite a simple concept really) you can double pump without losing the use of your hands. What does this mean? Warm a bottle, seat the baby next to you (I prop Richard in his Boppy Pillow), hook yourself up to the breast pump, and feed the baby while you express his next meal. 

Okay, so you won't get as much sleep as those lucky mothers who can breast feed and sleep at the same time... but you'll get the same amount of sleep as those feeding their children formula, and for me that makes the Medela Easy Expression Bustier worth every penny!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bio Expanded

As this blog has been wiped clean I suppose re-introductions are in order.

I'm a 28 year old woman originally from Vancouver B.C. who lived several years in Seattle Washington, and currently resides in Phoenix Arizona.  My current job is just that, a job - nothing to write about but it pays the bills and gives us health insurance; I do have some thoughts of maybe creating a better career for myself, but can't pick a direction to start from: Anthropology? Psychology? Nursing? Naturopathy? Religious Studies? Design? Physical Education?... As you probably figured out, I have many too many interests and dabble in too many hobbies (from knitting, singing classical music, and hiking, to playing RPG's)! 

Amidst my multiple points of interests, is a desire to live a holistic life: being connected with the world around me from nature, to family and home life, to politics; this is not as easy as it sounds. I don't care to give up all of my down time, nor to be so militant about the little changes I'm making that I end up losing site of the whole goal of happy and connected. In this blog I hope to share how I'm changing and maintaining my "holistic" life style, from cleaning, reusable crafts, cooking, and gardening to stress release, health, and overall well being. 

I'm addicted to tea; tea is absolutely the fuel that allows me to even attempt to entertain so many interests. Since moving to Arizona my addiction had decreased somewhat (what with the heat and all) but having a new baby in the house has rekindled my tea love affair with an enthusiastic passion.

My husband Paul is an automotive mechanic (who knows I'm crazy, and thinks me quite "granola" but loves me anyway), and we just recently welcomed our first child Richard into the world. 


So welcome, and please introduce yourself (even when this is an old post - I read and post on back log blogs so please feel free to do the same with mine).

Monday, February 13, 2012

January's Arrival

We are pleased to introduce Richard

Random Katharyn - Blog Archive

No I haven't deleted the content of my blog - I archived it on a new blog:

I want to maintain a more organized blog and focus my posts on life style; something about this particular make-over requires a clean slate, but I love my blog title so I'm moving the content and keeping the name ('cause I'm tricksie like that). Random Katharyn is not just an archive site, but will continue to be an active blog with anything that's out of scope here.

So welcome to the new "While the Tea is Steeping" and be sure to check out "Random Katharyn" every once and a while.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When you fall of the wagon...

Well, week one of menu planning was a complete and utter failure!

Last week we went without a full grocery run; we tried but things just didn't work out.
On Wednesday evening Ranch Market's credit/debit machines crashed, and after half an hour (for which Hillary and I were standing in line) they gave up and turned away those of us who no longer carry much cash.
On Thursday, I woke up with a unseasonable return of my morning sickness... on Friday and Saturday I was still feeling icky; On Sunday we had a guest over so we didn't make it out to Costco either (which means we're without coffee this week... Neither Ranch Market nor Food City has anything resembling actual coffee).
So on Sunday night I went to Food City, got just enough fruit to get us through to Wednesday and we've continued playing dinner by ear.

So... Lets try this again shall we?

Wednesday: Taco Hamburger "not" Helper (whole wheat pasta; ground beef, onions, spinach, tomatoes, and a packet of taco seasoning).
Thursday: Fish sticks (whole wheat breading, sliced fillets -not fish paste: thank you Costco) with my famous tartar sauce, rice (because Paul and Hillary love putting my tartar sauce on rice) and spinach salad.
Friday: - I try not to cook on my birthday -
Saturday: Daddy's Pork Chops with Lima beans (hey, what did I say about that face?)
Sunday: Roasted Chicken, Daddy's Mustard Cauliflower, and Spinach Salad
Monday: Home made Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (only 2 packets of basil though, I can't afford 4 packed cups!) and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Tuesday: Pot Stickers, Rice, and Spinach Salad (so tempted to run down to Lam's and get the fixing's for Mum's Kim Chi... but I'm not sure it's worth the pregnant heartburn; though it would be funny to watch Hillary down a gallon of milk)

Well, I came up with that list (more less) this morning - and we actually had Taco Hamburger "not" Helper this evening so I'm already doing better than last week!

What are you making this week?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Menu Planning Wagon

Well as I come to the end of my second trimester, my energy level is definitely dropping; in an attempt to keep up with this decrease without slacking on meals I've decided it's time to give menu planning a try. This should also help with the fact that we MAY be moving in late October (fingers crossed) so we want to go through all of the meat in the deep freeze.

We do most of our grocery shopping on Wednesdays as that's when Pro's Ranch Market has their epic produce sales; as we get their flyer on Tuesdays I decided that would be the best night to sit down and plan the menu for the week.

(All meals come with a small spinach salad or a side of raw broccoli)
Wednesday: home made taco hamburger helper (one packet taco seasoning + sauteed veggies + ground beef + whole wheat pasta) with corn on the cob
Thursday: pork chops with baked cauliflower covered in a mustard sauce
Friday: BBQ steak with corn on the cob and grilled carrots
Saturday: Daddy's Pork Chops with Lima beans (don't make that face, it's tasty – there's bacon involved)
Sunday: Meat loaf with mashed potatoes
Monday: fish sticks (whole code, not processed – battered in whole wheat bread crumbs), with chipotle yams.
Tuesday: roasted bell peepers stuffed with chicken, rice and other veggies

This means in addition to just regular fruits and veggies (we mostly eat them raw) I need to get extra green peppers, Lima beans, and bacon at the store tomorrow.

Ultimate goal is to have one sea food meal a week (usually fish) and one vegetarian meal a week – but I need to do a little vegetarian research before I get going on that one. Anyone have a suggestion for a good vegetarian cook book that A.) doesn't make me feel bad/defensive about the fact that I have no intention of becoming a vegetarian; B.) teaches the fundamentals about vegetarian meal design (what you're missing from the meat and how to make up for that*, etc) and C.) isn't going to require a huge run on the budget for most every recipe?

What are you making this week?

* Yes I know, if we're eating meat all week then I really don't need to worry about such things  for one meal; however my goal it ultimately to teach my children how to properly cook vegetarian so should they choose to make that life style choice they don't start with pasta/saladtarianism. I may not follow those rules with every non-meat meal, but I need to know them for this purpose...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Review: Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasurs of a Handmade Life

Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade LifeMade from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever dream of running a little farm, or maybe just having a few chickens in your back yard? How about  a life where you're more connected to the things around you? Then Made from Scratch is well worth a read. Not just a guide for those city slickers dreaming of starting a farm but unsure where to start while they maintain their 9-5; Jenna teaches a mindset to acknowledge where everything you use comes from and try to start taking care of yourself with your hands instead of your plastic bank card. No sugar coating here, Jenna brings you in on her hard ships from fatal live stock mistakes to crushed over zealous dreams when the reality of back breaking labour sets in.

As previously discuses (in prep for this book review in fact) I am definitely a farm girl dreamer. When I checked this book out of the library I had big dreams in store and every intention of starting a huge (speaking of over zealous) garden here in Arizona. Then I found out I was pregnant and although those dreams didn't go away, they did get placed on hold. I felt this book would have nothing to offer me in my current state, and felt disturbingly guilty for having put this set of dreams on hiatus; The only thing that got me to finally read the book was it's looming library due date; just intro, I realized I was wrong.

This book isn't just how to start a small farm while maintaining a day job, it's about living out the mindset that drives you to such desires, starting with small pieces and building, remembering why you're living this way and taking the time to enjoy what you love about it. Prior to opening the book, I had spent much of the day reading up on fabric diapers: different styles, fabric types, construction methods, and the like. By the time I had finished the intro, I realized that I hadn't put my dreams on hold, I had only changed my output focus – but my dream of living a life made from scratch remained.

View all my Goodreads reviews